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The Most Dangerous Lifts

Safety first! Our ambassador Jesse James outlines the most dangerous moves, why they are risky, and how to avoid injury.

When you think about the gym the average person doesn’t really think of the dangers that are actually lurking in the iron jungle. You would think that this article was being written to discourage if not talk you out of going to the gym, but it is meant more to educate you about the dangers of the following lifts. Living in a college town gives you the opportunity to see new people every semester at the gym and with new gym members comes a lot of improper form. I hope this article sheds some light on what I would consider to be a few of the most dangerous lifts in the gym. This is not to say that you shouldn’t do them but raise your awareness of the dangers that can be associated if done improperly. So always remember to educate yourself as much as possible, whether you are a newbie gym goer or gym regular you can never know too much.

First on the list is back barbell squats, squats you say? Before you start the bashing keep in mind that this is a compound movement that relies on more than just you putting a bar on your back to lift. For that reason I believe it to be a dangerous lift, when done improperly it can injure your hips, glutes, hamstrings, and knees. According to an article written for Bodybuilding.com, “Squats can be bad for your knees. Period. But they’re good for everything else”. Keep in mind that there are also different variations of squats that play a role in what muscles are targeted more so than others (deep squat, half reps, parallel, or front). The beginner and intermediate lifters will not use a full range of motion or understand which range of motion is best to use when lifting. Half reps are a great addition to your workout if you are trying to break a plateau but should not be used as the main range of lifting. I see this type of lifting all the time in the gym and will admit in my early lifting career I too had the same exact flaw in my form from not knowing any better and being taught in my high school power lifting class improperly. Let’s not forget that squatting too low can also put unnecessary strain on the knees and improper feet placement will redirect the stress need from your quads and hamstrings to your knees. Lastly the last thing on a lifters mind might be if I am wearing the proper footwear while squatting, wearing the wrong shoes can have a major impact on the above listed injuries. Bodybuilding.com states that” Think of your shoes as the foundation of your leg training sessions. Wearing old or broken down fitness shoes for heavy squatting is like putting old, worn-out tires on a race car! There are several reasons to avoid training in your “tennies.” The best type of foot wear for squats is something with a flat soled, not consisting of any cushion or “air” for support. The latter shoes mentioned is not recommend as it does not give you a flat sturdy surface to balance yourself when squatting. I personally wear Chuck Taylors by Converse as they provide the best support and balance for me when doing this type of lift.

Second on the list most dangerous lifts are deadlifts. Yes I know these are also one of the best workouts as well that is highly suggested and recommended, but what makes these dangerous is lack of knowledge on the proper lifting technique. The beginner and some intermediate lifters make many mistakes early on in their lifting career that some adjust but most continue to lift with improper form. The prolong lifting with improper form is just a time bomb waiting to release on when your back, legs, knees, or shoulders will become injured. So what makes these lifts so dangerous you say? Deadlifts being another compound movement like the back barbell squats requires that you have an understanding on proper feet placement, back alignment, shoulder alignment, and arm involvement that all have to be in sync to risk an injury. Anytime there are that many things involved that have to be perfect there is room for error. Let’s not forget that there are different variations of the deadlifts that depending on what body part you are targeting will require a certain range of motion. The improper shoes can also affect your lift and position but is rarely thought of when deadlifting as well. T-Nation.com released an article where they looked at the benefits of Olympic shoes vs Chucks for squatting, and the same principles apply here as the back squats. You want to have a flat soled shoe to get a better grip and solid foot placement when lifting.

Third and my final dangerous lift are the upright rows. Many would not think this to be an issue at all seeing as you can control the weight and are not using heavy weights to do this lift. According to Medicaldaily.com “While performing upright rows, you may notice that your shoulders are rotating inward (internal rotation) but also elevating. You may not realize the stress you’re putting on your rotator cuff that can eventually lead to injury. Two million people in the United States saw their doctors as the result of a problem with their rotator cuff in 2008, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reported. Another common injury that can occur through lifting your arms while they’re in an internal rotation position is known as shoulder impingement syndrome, which can result in difficulty reaching upward or pain when arms are extended above the head.” A majority of new lifters will not understand how to properly lift the weight and will use their back to swing the weight upward, this causes an indirect pressure on your back that could result in the lower back muscles being pulled or injured. The intermediate to advanced lifter will also use too much weight and injure their rotor cuff or pull their biceps/triceps while trying to over compensate the heavy weight.

There are so many lifts that can be considered to be dangerous as well but in my option these 3 are some of the major workouts to be aware of in the gym. This article is mainly to raise awareness of the dangers in the gym that the gym employees or your workout partner may have never informed you about. There is a reason why you have to sign a gym release form when signing up for a new membership as so many machines in the gym can quickly cause bodily harm if don’t improperly. So as always make sure to educate yourself on the proper techniques of every lift you are doing, if you are not 100% sure how to do a lift look it up online from a known good source. Make sure to also educate yourself on proper gym gear, clothing, and use it when necessary but do not over use gym gear as a crutch. I cannot count how many times I’ve see a guy/girl wearing a weight belt while walking around the gym, working arms, or something that does not require the gym gear he/she is wearing. Lifting straps and weight belts should NOT be worn as if they are an accessory to your outfit as well. That can also cause your body to rely on your weight belt, wraps, or straps and in turn weaken the muscles around the area that is being underutilized in your stability. I found this out first hand when my lower back started to spasm. Wearing my weight belt only when required remedied this issue.

If you are looking for the best gym gear in the industry make sure to stop by the Harbinger Fitness or Human X Gear website. If you are not sure what product is best for your needs feel free to contact me or Harbinger Fitness/Human X Gear and we’ll be glad to help you out!

“Harbinger is the brand of choice for athletes serious about their training and achieving their personal fitness goals.”

Harbinger & HumanX Ambassador Jesse James is an NPC Men’s Physique competitor. Jesse has made a transformation where he started at 135lbs to a staggering 230lbs of muscle. Competitions now have him at around 220lbs in the off season and dieting down to around 198lbs when stepping onstage. He is also an internationally published fitness model and fitness writer.

References

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/drsquat12.htm

https://www.t-nation.com/training/deconstructing-the-deadlift

http://generationiron.com/most-dangerous-exercises/dead lift mistakes

http://anabolicminds.com/articles/the-5-common-deadlift-mistakes-17832/

http://www.fitnessandpower.com/fitness-stories/videos/5-common-deadlift-mistakes

https://www.t-nation.com/training/olympic-shoes-or-chucks-for-squats

https://www.t-nation.com/training/squat-mechanics-a-deep-analysis

http://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/guide/impingement-syndrome

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